Artisan Marketing Communications offers clients PR and marketing communications advice, practical support and implementation.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Over to you

I thought rather than me talking about my thoughts (for what they are worth; I have manged to make references to The Stones and Led Zep and now Buffalo Springfield in the last week or two) I would spend August looking at what everyone else is saying.

If you have controversial, interesting or curious entries on your blog about PR, marketing, communications and technology during August - please leave a comment here and I will try to cover them.

To over service or not to over service - that is the question

The answer to the question is as diverse as the number of people that answer it.

I know of some PR freelancers and agencies that give you the time allotted and not a second more. At 5pm or when the time has been accounted for it is pens down. If you want anymore pay for it. They might be competitive on rates, but they are strict and professional on the service they deliver in return.

On the other hand I know of a creative agency that purposely over services. This has enabled them to retain clients and must act as a defence against clients being poached or looking elsewhere.

The question is, "Do clients realise and appreciate the change from agency to agency and freelancer to freelancer?"

When a supplier over services by some length and then follows by delivering what was agreed or asks for a higher payment to cover the additional hours, do clients see this as a way to extract more fees?

And over servicing or not?

There is no definitive answer, except that if you deliver results and value it becomes less of an issue. It is though the basis of a feature with survey for PR Week.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

North South business divide

The Manchester Blog comments on the north south divide according to business coach Robert Craven.

The key points of difference he feels are:

  1. Northerners are more friendly, more chatty and more blunt, or straight forward
  2. Southerners are less accessible, they’re “lean back” people rather than “lean forward”
  3. Londoners are very much busier, everyone is time poor and has shorter attention spans
I am not really sure about this. I am a professional northerner with the best of them, but you can get some right difficult ones up here. I mean Joey Barton and Edwina Curry are northerners (Scousers to be precise, known for being friendly, funny and down to earth) and I am sure there must be a few friendlier people in the south than them.

Having worked in the south there are differences in culture and outlook. In business, well there is more money around and that makes a difference. In terms of people, generalisations are always dangerous. When you think you have a fool proof formula, an exception comes along to challenge it.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Fictional brands

Can fictional brands make it in the real world?

The Guardian tries to answer that question in it's weekend Guide although it is all a little tongue in cheek.

Among the brands considered is Duff Beer, which has already been copied until it was pulled owing to infringement on copyright.

You have the feeling some of the Simpson brands and Willa Wonka, providing the Oompa Loompas are kept happy, could make it.

In fact there are 11 Kwik E Marts across North America as part of the Simpson Movie promotion that sell Simpson own brands, I haven't time to write this when there are Squishees to be drunk.

Friday, July 27, 2007

When the levee breaks

A volatile day on the stock market.

Things are looking good for the PR and indeed marketing industry in the North West and I am sure across the country.

If you have a look at How Do for instance it never seems to be short of major account wins.

In the 90s I was working in IT and the golden days were predicted by some to be never ending. One managing director of an Internet agency predicted in a trade magazine that it would be, to paraphrase, "stupid" to even ask if the Internet industry could encounter a downturn. That was about a month before the dotcom crash.

PR in Manchester is highly competitive and new agencies and new expansion plans seem to gather pace.

But what if we have another downturn?

PR and marketing budgets will be slashed and the predictable marketing strategy of if we can demonstrate a return then we will keep it. Hence, direct marketing and call centres become a little more popular. It is not what good marketing and PR is about: relationships and not "mud against the wall and something will stick" approach.

Interest rates are up , borrowing is high, the US has had a property crash - is tomorrow another sunny day?

If we do have a downturn in 2008 or 2009, who will survive? Will it be good for the industry to have a correction?

I do not have the answers but my experience of the dotcom crash tells me never take for granted a comfortable set of economic statistics.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A dragon replies

I posted an entry yesterday about how you can drop from view very, very quickly when you turn off your publicity.

I mentioned Doug Richard, a former dragon on Dragons' Den to illustrate the point.

The entry moved Rachel Elnaugh, a former BBC dragon to post a comment explaining that Doug was still very much involved in the business community and generates his profile through other opportunities, which seem to be more focussed.

The point for me is that blogs can open up channels of communication between parties that a few years ago would not have happened. The same point is illustrated by the communication with US correspondent Toby Harden (30th January) who entered into communication with me after I quoted a story about him in The Guardian that proved misleading.

Blogging has and is changing the communication playing field: more democratic and interactive than could have been imagined a few years ago.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Why you must keep on generating profile

Do you remember Doug Richard?

No? Yes? Cannot place him?

Doug was one of the original dragons on Dragon's Den.

I came across his name this morning, a mention in the paper - the first in a long time.

When Doug was a regular on Dragon's Den his picture if not name would have been familiar. Now, he has faded from view and from interest. To slightly paraphrase the Rolling Stones said, "Who reads yesterday's papers? Nobody in the world."

PR has to be a continual process, just like networking and blogging. Companies that engage a PR then let it go are wasting the initial efforts.

It is still amazing how quickly you fall out of sight and how hard it is to regain that capital.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Manchester blog awards

This year cash prizes for the best of Manchester blogging.

What is more you can nominate yourself, which might be useful for a few of us.

Full details on the Manchizzle blog.

Take note 7th September for all entires and the chance to be a star at the awards in October.

Marketers cannot do everything

Just because you are a marketer does not mean you can do everything in what is a wide field to say the least. Yet, some companies believe just that.

I have seen adverts for "marketers" that expect them to be proficient in Photoshop and by implication they must be graphic designers as well.

I have also come across the same circumstances for marketers that are expected to be PR proficient as well.

It is possible to be multi-tasking? Some general marketers can have a special talent for PR or branding or another aspect of their profession. However, in a field such as marketing there are so many facets to understand and master that surely a general marketer cannot handle them all to a standard they or their company can be pleased without outside help.

For instance, Internet marketing in itself is a very specialised discipline and one that is essential to any marketing effort. For me there is only one answer: hire an Internet agency if you want to really achieve anything.

Why am I bringing this up now?

I have come across a recent example that reminded me of a pitch I went on that demonstrates this point.

I was talking to a professional services company of some size and the marketer was interested in using my services: only 3 pieces or so of scrappy coverage in 5 months.

When the marketing officer approached the managing partner the retort was along the lines, "You do the PR, we pay you, why are you suggesting spending more money? "

A complete lack of understanding from management.

Another example was many years ago when I was briefed on a marketing position. They had originally given the position in-house to the graphic designer. He had walked into a management meeting one day when he had to present his marketing plan and admitted he was clueless and he wanted to give up the marketing and so the position was on the market.

I could give you other examples.

The point is that a profession as essential as marketing is not understood by many directors.

Is that newsworthy? Maybe not. But it still comes up again and again.

By the way the image is a stock photo and is no way designed to be taken as a real case study nor, as far is known, does the subject of the image have any views on congestion charges.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A little plug for the 24:7 Theatre Festival

The 24:7 Theatre Festival is running from the 23rd to 29th July at The Midland Hotel and Pure in The Printworks.

David Slack helps organise the event that provides real opportunities for those looking to forge a career in the dramatic arts.

Full listings can be found on the 24:7 website. With a range of plays and a very fair entry price it should be well-supported.

Moments of advertising inspiration

With so many products vying for our attention advertising creatives have got their work cut out.

The images shown here show that original ideas can still stand out in a highly competitive market.

Thanks to Vince Holt of 11 out of 10 for sending the images.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Too many PRs spoil the broth?

Unlike some professional services, PR and indeed marketing are not regulated. We do not need to pass exams or have membership of a professional body to be PRs or marketers.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing had a wish that all marketers would need the CIM Diploma. I have only been asked, as far as I can remember, about whether I had it once. It never hurt me passing the exam. It was worth it for the knowledge, but career wise it was a "nice" extra for an employer, nothing more.

PR is increasingly popular amongst graduates and journalists switching professions.

I was talking to an accountant recently and he told me the exams he did were hard and no more than about 55% passed. And that is 55% of very bright people that take it - with degrees and professional experience. The idea is to keep the industry exclusive and well-paid irrespective of how many people are capable of being accountants, whether that is right or wrong.

I am not claiming me and a select few have the right to do what we do and no one else has. I do not have a PR qualification and I would only want to study a PR course that had real value and not for the benefit of saying I have it. All mine are marketing focussed qualifications. And anyway it would probably be unworkable, as the CIM found out, to put in place barriers to entry into marketing and this would apply to PR for the IPR.

I have not conducted a study nor do I have hard evidence, but as more PR graduates are produced and journalists look favourably on switching surely it will become an issue, even though PRs switch careers as well.

There must be a threshold to how many marketers and PRs the world needs. I do not know the breaking point on our marketing/PR eco system but it must be there somewhere.

Of course the other argument, especially if a recession bites, is only the fittest will survive.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sabi Rock - a man with a marketing idea

I was listening to xfm this morning and the presenter was reading out the latest sightings of Sabi Rock.

First Quay Street and then Trinity Way in Salford. I do not know if this is a regular occurrence, but if you can get yourself talked about on radio by simply walking round with a sign you are on to something.

I mentioned this to Jon Raduch of the Graphics Dept and he told me the man had been in his design agency.

What's he like and is his music any good?

Jon compared him to Jack Johnson, not a good start. It is actually hard to tell from the website because the music sounds as though it has been recorded at home.

He explained Sabi Rock has a website. He has a selection of tunes but only b-sides on it. You cannot buy from him online! What a waste of effort: a marketing tactic that costs nothing except time and has raised his profile more than any other unsigned musician or band in the city and you cannot exploit all that exercise.

Why huff and puff with coming up with new ideas when you can do it with your feet?

Simon I have an idea....

(For a selection of images of Sabi Rock go to Flickr). I have tried to find copyright on this image. I am not sure if there is one or if anyone cares, but if there is please let me know and will accredit or take down).

Monday, July 16, 2007

No to stock photography

The issue of stock photography was recently touched upon during the Greater Manchester Transport congestion "incident."

It created a little bit of a storm as it purported to be showing locals but actually showed US models although it is not entirely clear.

It might be wrong, but is this such a shock? During my lunch break I saw at least 2 adverts that could have used stock models and "illustrative" cases and I have not heard, as these are long running commercials, any protests.

One was "I was working in the storeroom (in heels) and tripped and so had a right to claim the compensation" that she naturally"deserved.""

This is a serious problem as the more people claim, whether right or wrong, the more premiums go up.

The difference could be we expect some adverts to be all front. But we expect Greater Manchester Transport to have higher standards, or it is a chink in their argument and it was exploited by opposition to the charge.

What is not in doubt for me is that companies that use stock images for their communications lose out.

The number of sites that do not show the directors and staff but deliriously people shaking hands or glowing with unabated glee at their computer screens communicates that the Internet site or mailer is not really reflective of the company. This in turn brings in questions about the copy.

This is not a fair comment in some ways as many companies communicate honestly. However, with all the competition to be heard and to be kept being heard transparency and tangible references are key.

Note to previous entries. Creative Concern the design agency at the centre of the congestion row has stated that SKV was not responsible for the "case studies."

Where does spin begin and lying end?

Gordon Ramsey! Who would have thought it?

Yes, even straight talking Gordon has been caught telling fibs.

In his latest F Word it shows him being manly, practical and a general Ray Mears catching fish.

But it wasn't true. Yes, he fished. No, he caught nothing.

Luckily a local fisherman had some back-up sea bass - a valuable bit of thinking. The programme showed him wading in from the shore with his catch for a barbecue.

When the story broke Channel 4 apologised for misrepresentation.

Who really cares except a tabloid? Surely there is some room for journalistic license?

When Brazen PR were found out to have used staff and friends to pose a boyfriend and girlfriend there was a minor outcry. The story being that she liked chocolate so much that he filled up a bathtub with it. Except that the couple images were not the couple the story was based on.

There was a storm in a little teacup. It was a publicity stunt about chocolate.

Yes, some people were aggravated by Brazen being "economical with the actualite." Some said it was par for the course. Why get upset? Personally I thought it was a waste of good chocolate - eat the stuff.

Last week it was the case of SKV and the fabled typical Mancs, who were as it transpired 4 US models, replete great dental work and an expression that looked as though they had an hour of being tickled and had thoroughly enjoyed it prior to being photographed.

The case studies were made-up and this was apparently not clear to residents.

This was something different - a serious issue - congestion charging - and its affect on travel for personal and business use. It rightly caused some anger. Not least because of the clumsy way the reaction was handled when people thought they had been patronisingly hoodwinked.

(It now appears that SKV were not responsible for the offending leaflets although they took some of the flack, but it was the creative agency Creative Concern).

There has to be a line PRs must not cross. Of course there is a legal line as a restraint. A PR cannot claim a drug will cure a certain ailment if they know it does not.

For the good of journalistic PR relations and the image of the industry PRs must be careful how they present information.

Self-regulation rarely works, especially as there is no obligation to join the Institute of Public Relations to practise. These incidents will go on , the advice must be play straight on stories involving key issues otherwise there could be consequences.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

US Internet radio needs your help

As a user of Pandora I have been receiving news that high increases in royalties to record companies threatens the Internet radio market.

Pandora is an innovative free website that allows you to customise your listening and select tracks to sample. It works by listeners downloading tracks they enjoy although there is no obligation to do so. I have bought albums based on being first attracted to them on Pandora.

Unfortunately any help can only be supplied by US readers but here is the plea:

Hi, it's Tim one more time...

Disaster looms! Yesterday a federal court denied a plea to delay the massive increase in rates webcasters must pay the record labels. This means that, absent immediate Congressional action, the new ruinous royalty rates will be going into effect on Monday threatening the future of all internet radio.

This is a very dire situation and I'm writing to ask one more time for your support. The effort you've made over the past four months has been extraordinary and has forced the rapid introduction of the bill, but the committee process has been sluggish and we need to once again remind the representatives of the urgency of this issue. This is perhaps the most important phone call you can make for us.

Please call your Congressional representatives in the Senate and ask them to force immediate action on the Internet Radio Equality Act and bring the bill to a vote. It is critical that their phones begin ringing off the hook starting early in the morning. If it's busy, please try again later.

Congressperson Scott Garrett: (202)225-4465

Senator Frank R. Lautenberg: (202) 224-3224

Senator Robert Menendez:
(202) 224-4744

I'm sorry that we have to keep asking you for this - but it's our only recourse. We are no match for the legal and legislative strength of the RIAA and we need your help.

Thank you again.


-Tim Westergren
(Pandora founder)

Friday, July 13, 2007

British army in man eating badger PR crisis

Rumours in Basra have emerged that the British Army has released man eating badgers to terrorise the locals.

Despite string assurances by the army some locals are not convinced.

It has emerged that the creatures are honey badgers and have been forced south by floods in the marshes.

They are harmless unless cornered and are indigenous to the region. They are not in the pay of the British although they started to appear near the army base.

This PR crisis should blow over as long as Greater Manchester Transport do not get involved.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

GMPTA Gate - the response to the PR cover-up

How exciting can PR get when you can reference those days of Tricky Dicky, Woodward and Bernstein and it involves GMPTA?

Well I want to look at the reaction. I would like to state I have nothing personally or professionally against GMPTA, SKV or anyone else mentioned here although I am sure that I would not like the Busy Bee Bus.

Let's start with GMPTA. What was their crisis PR strategy regarding not playing fair on their communications?

The latest news story on their website is "Buzz around Bury on a Busy Bee Bus! Strong messaging there with the exclamation mark, so do as they say if in Bury! As for the impending crisis nothing, that is just playing it cool.

Roger Jones chairman of the GMPTA, said it had been put together "very quickly" to make sure everyone had a chance to learn the facts about a congestion charge.

"With more time, maybe it would have been better to interview proper families, but I don't mind if they are actors and actresses (pictured) as long as the information is correct. (So why not say they are not real people, but it gives an idea of a typical resident and how it applies to them)?

"I was one of the first to say a leaflet should go out to every house in Greater Manchester and I am really proud of what we have done." Apologise and show some humility.

If he was a weatherman I suspect he would be in trunks and an ice cream reporting from the local sewage works saying the weather was fine when it was pouring and expect everyone to come out and build sand castles.

Blogger David Ottewell of the MEN thinks it has done nobody any favours and will not alter the congestion charge debate. David gives SKV the benefit of the doubt and is quite generous in saying that SKV had to balance the egos and agendas of councillors, GMPTA and others as mitigating circumstances. Don't really buy into the last bit although I imagine it is a pain for the account manager.

He does rightly recognise that the blogger that revealed the American models posing as locals needs credit: Thomas McEldowney, a part-time photographer.

Manchester Evening News was factual in its reporting and not emotive.

The comments often are and show a wide range of opinion. However, cynicism about PR was reinforced. As Gavbad (I take it that this is not his real name) says: "PR companies and their methods DON'T make for a healthy and democratic public sphere. "

One thing is that people are not taken in by glossy leaflets and are more sophisticated than some politicians and marketers imagine. Commentator PW: " The pictures in the leaflet did make me want to bring back my breakfast."

Channel M did a spoof and as many ask, "how hard can it be to find a real person in Rochdale called Terry?" Well quite hard, it took 2 hours.

In conclusion, PR did not come out well and it reflects on all of us, which is not fair.

SKV will get over this even though they will have a little flack and I suspect they will not do this again.

GMPTA looks foolish, people will trust them less and we will still probably get the congestion charge. Whatever the rights of the charge it will be harder to communicate this from now on and so they will try to steam roller it in anyway. Opposition to the charge will get stronger and can use the "we cannot trust you" card at any time.

It all makes for a huge PR challenge; they are fortunate to have a PR agency in place.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

SKV in a spin over misleading campaign

Manchester PR agency SKV has been "outed" by the Manchester Evening News and the Guardian Media Group over its misleading campaign in favour of congestion charges in Manchester.

SKV has used 4 "case studies" of Manchester residents supporting the charge. However, all 4 viewpoints are manufactured and the images are those of US models.

The £500,000 pro congestion charges campaign, organised jointly with Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive and sister Authority body, has used a number of methods to get over the benefits of a charge and swing public opinion its way.

A tall order for any agency, if news of this debacle becomes more widespread then the campaign for congestion charges will backfire completely.

SKV's website begins: "Reputation is hard to win. You can’t build a business or organisation without it. It is an asset to any business or organisation and must be protected and nurtured.

Watch out for a lot of reaction on the How Do website over the course of the next couple of days.

Manchester blog meet-up

I missed Monday's meet as I had caught a little bit of a cold. Grapes, or the monetary value there of, welcome.

So I have been trawling through the reviews of those that attended to find out what was discussed.

The meeting comprised a wide range of bloggers including a PR Stephen Newton to a BBC broadcast journalist Robin Hamman to a professional blogger to an online search marketing agency PushON that persuaded me to blog to a Russian intellectual. (Links usually go to the attendees take on the evening).

The event was also covered by the BBC Manchester Blog owing to the presence of Robin Hamman and Richard Fair.

Below Rising Star of PushON Jamie Clouting is shameless in promoting his employer.

Monday, July 09, 2007

80 years of press photography

The National Portrait Gallery is holding a presentation of 80 years of press photography entitled Daily Encounters.

The exhibition, due to run to the 21st October, aims to show a little of the impact of photography on popular culture as well as revealing how the industry works and how it has affected popular tastes.

A panel review on BB2 I came across criticised how the display fails to guide you round thematically and how the pictures do not vary in size, adding contrast and impact.

However, I think the strength of images (including this one of Hitchcock on the left) are worth anyone's time who has any feeling for the visual arts.

Curiously, the exhibition finishes in the 80s. How the impact of citizen journalism is affecting newspapers, media in general and the role of the professional photographer is another issue and one that would be worth examining to this art displayed under the photography banner.

Many thanks to the National Portrait Gallery for allowing me to use the image, which is copyright of Getty Images.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Why I am giving up television - well almost

I have a TV appetite that Homer Simpson would at times admire. However, I think I am going to give up or at least cut down to a minimum.

Some time ago I wrote about whether the media in the UK is watering down content under increasing pressure for readers and ratings.

I mentioned that the Daily Mirror used to be a very fine, before my time, publication. One in which individuals of some academic and political calibre commented in. Whether you support them or not, politicians such as Tony Benn can be engaging and the paper was at times "fighting the good fight" helped expose the atrocities in Cambodia. (I note it was decidedly dodgy during the rise of fascism).

The Mirror, under Piers Morgan, has lost its way and is just another gossip and scandal sheet, which is a little angry occasionally, shouts a bit and thinks that hits the mark. Classics over the Piers tenure include:
  • Spice Girls making the lead story because they had been sponsored by Pepsi (slow news day hey?)
  • Achtung Surrender predicting the capitulation of the Germany team in the Euros semis against England - mmmm
  • And the who cares journalism prize for photographing Earl Spencer's wife coming out of a rehab clinic- it also broke the Editor's code of conduct-double whammy
  • Printing pictures, which the Mirror acknowledged were hoaxes of British soldiers abusing Iraqis, which led to Piers trying to hang on before he was sacked

Where is Piers Morgan now? A high profile celebrity playing up a hack image.

Do not get me wrong the journalists I work with are hard working, conscientious and straight forward to work with. I cannot recall a major disagreement or even a minor one. Some of them are under considerable and increasing pressure to produce and you have to admire that.

The low came though when Davina McCall got on Question Time.

Now I have seen Lorraine Kelly on a current affairs program and she is sharp. She might talk about what's in and not for summer on breakfast TV, but when she has free reign she is quite a force, very well informed and has a suffer no fools approach.

Davina McCall offered no surprises. Vacuous and her ability to back up one particular argument by stating that she did not know the evidence her opponent was referring to and so it was effectively void was incredible. When has ignorance of a subject been a starting point for arguing your case?

I think if Davina was confined to Channel 4 only I could cope. But she has been let out to bring her level of "I am loud, therefore I am" or "I am loud, therefore I am right"and it is too much.

Think about what she hosts.

Big Brother was a social experiment once upon a time ago, now it is a passport to fame. When Big Brother gets watered down you know that you have to switch media: I love you papers (except the Mirror), I love you magazines, I love you radio, I love you Internet.

There are some good things on TV, but I cannot take the chance of some TV exec thinking she is cool and inflicting her on me again without a clear warning before that "this program might contain images and sound bites of a moronic nature."

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Are graduates ready for agency life?

The Drum magazine posed that question in their latest Vox Pop feature and I found myself agreeing with the majority of what was said although the opinions diverged.

Three opinions gave a resounding "No!"

At first I was firmly in the students are greener than a David Bellamy compost heap camp.

However Adam Fothergill of creative agency Love stated (I leave out some adjectives as I got feed up (unlike the graduate traits he notes)):

"Enthusiastic, ambitious, naive, talented, skillful, hungover, interested, interesting, passionate, innovative, pioneering, capable, trained, involved, fascinated, bright, motivated, motivating, exciting, excited, eager, animated, clever, determined, raw, youthful. Willing to get up early, make tea, coffee, or other hot drinks, and laugh at some w**ker's jokes just to keep them happy. Perfectly prepared for agency life."


I was under the impression today's graduates are more career orientated than my generation; more clued up because of the competition and have taken aboard the need for experience.

I suppose it is all a question of the individual. At 22 all I wanted was to travel the world and have a gilded existence. Still do, but more realistic now.

I must admit I would go for the skills and experience, but there is a lot to be said for enthusiasm.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Blogging on decline: not sure about that

Paul Mason, Newsnight's business and industry correspondent recently told
"Personally, I think blogging is so over now."

Mason believes times are moving on and that official blogs "have taken the fun out of it."

Of course the fad for blogging seemed to be at a peak last year and the number of people thinking they have something to say and then deciding they have not or more likely they cannot be bothered has seen interest wane - anecdotal evidence as my source. (Of course this must mean I have something to say, can be bothered or have nothing else to do).

I think there might have been a correction in the blogosphere. The media interest got other things to talk about. But blogging is not as tired as the cliche that the £death of blogging has been greatly exaggerated" to paraphrase the Mark Twain witticism.

I have come across 3 new blogs in the last week that their owners are very enthusiastic to build up:

Rob Nugent - Rob helps run Anthony K vehicle Leasing. I have known Rob for a while and he never mentioned blogging until I got an e-mail asking me to take a look at his new blog. I think he sees potential.

Simpson Burgess Nash - famous accountants. SBN is completely new to blogging and they have taken to it with aplomb. Mark Simpson, who does a lot to support the arts in Manchester, is proving he can write almost as well as account.

Manchester Parking - a new to be unveiled blog I have heard whispers about talking about all things Manchester. Been done yes you might say that but how well?

With the first 2, which are business blogs, they stand out in their profession simply because their competitors generally do not blog. If they do it well they push through their advantage.

How can a communications channel become worn and jaded if it still offers that potential?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Who should write your blog?

There seemed to be a minor debate about this a little time ago and the answer was the owner.

Of course it is tempting for a busy company exec to hire a PR agency or freelance journalist to write it and if the fee is right to accept it.

I haven't been approached myself. I thought the point was to establish relationships and how can you do that if someone else is writing it?

This last week the issue has come up again. One contact told me he agreed that an e-mail newsletter was not going to meet his aims and that a blog might be a better option. He then told me he was going to hire someone to write it. I explained that he was missing the point. He agreed. I am not sure he understood.

I read with interest a BBC article today that the practise of paying a pretender to write a blog was a little more rife than I thought. But it is causing problems. How do you know your online conversation is with the person you think it is? You cannot be so sure, especially if you are conversing with a high profile blogger or social networker.

If people are unsure of the real identity of the blogger or social networker it will suffer as a channel of communication.

The BBC article claimed that one high profile entrepreneur is paying £1,000 a month to his writer. Every PR has his price and for that dosh I might keep an open mind on the subject.

Until then I am being ethical and sticking to my guns.